CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Police on Sunday identified the woman killed Saturday when a vehicle plowed into a group of counterprotesters here as 32-year-old Heather D. Heyer.
Authorities said 19 other pedestrians suffered injuries ranging from serious to minor.
As a girl, Heyer stood up for people being picked on while riding the schools bus.
On Saturday, she was killed standing up for her country, according to a childhood friend.
Heyer was among those gathered in Charlottesville to oppose the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists making a show of force in Charlottesville.
"People will remember her name and remember what she died for," said the friend, Felicia Correa.
An Ohio man was charged with second-degree murder after police said the Dodge Challenger he was driving "at a high rate of speed" rear-ended another car and pushed vehicles into a crowd of pedestrians. Police say the driver of the Challenger, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, fled the scene. He also was charged with three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run.
Charlottesville city officials said in a statement Sunday that "Heyer was struck down by a vehicle while exercising her peaceful first-amendment right to speech. This senseless act of violence rips a hole in our collective hearts."
Correa said she recently was swamped with medical bills after complications related to her multiple sclerosis, so she went to a Charlottesville law firm. When Heyer, who was working as a paralegal there, walked out to meet her she was ecstatic to see the friend she had known growing up in Greene County, Va.
Heyer jumped in and guided Correa, who was uninsured and is a mother of six, through the daunting financial process. When Correa heard Heyer had been killed Saturday, she said she wanted to help her family, just like their daughter helped her a few months ago.
Heyer was a "young white woman who died standing up not just for people of color in general but, also the people of color that I love, that I worry about," said Correa, who is biracial.
"She died for a reason. I don't see any difference in her or a soldier who died in war. She, in a sense, died for her country. She was there standing up for what was right," Correa said. "I just want to make sure that it wasn't in vain."
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